Cambridge, MA: Educators for Social Responsibility, 1994. 161 pp. $16.95.
Teaching Young Children in Violent Times is a violence prevention and conflict resolution guide targeting teachers and students in preschool through the third grade, an audience that is often overlooked in violence prevention initiatives. Diane Levin states in her introduction that lessons about peace and conflict resolution need to be placed at the heart of daily classroom activities, especially in those classrooms where young children learn to work together for the first time in their lives. According to the author, a "peaceable classroom" is one in which trust and safety, responsibility, mutual respect, and cooperation are infused into all aspects of the classroom. These abstract and noble ideas are made concrete through extensive examples of what the author considers to be elements of a peaceable classroom. Descriptions of activities that cut across disciplinary boundaries, sample dialogues between teachers and young students on race and gender issues, and examples of games promoting cooperation and perspective-taking illustrate Levin's assertion that peaceable classrooms for young children can be constructed through educators' concerted efforts. Throughout the examples she provides, Levin continually reminds readers that children's developmental needs create very real boundaries for any violence prevention activity. Overall, Teaching Young Children in Violent Times provides educators with clearly stated advice for turning classroom-based violence prevention strategies into actual practice.